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NEWS STORIES

State of the Art Surgical Robot in the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 12/13/2012
Story By Michael Crusan

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WOODRUFF - Imagine a surgical procedure with faster recovery, less pain and fewer complications and risks.

Thanks to the efforts of area doctors and community members that dream is a reality in Woodruff.

Remarkable only begins to describe the da Vinci Surgical Robot.
Ministry Howard Young Hospital Director of Surgical Services Mike Gibbons says, "We were able to attain this technology in a hospital this size, which is pretty rare."

The Marshfield Clinic and Ministry Howard Young Hospital teamed up to perform some of the latest and most advanced surgeries in medicine.

Dr. John Twelmeyer with the Marshfield Clinic says, "The surgeon sits at the console and operates the arms of the da Vinci with just two fingers on each side."

At the helm of the da Vinci surgical robot the technology is something you might think that you'd find down at the Mayo Clinic or in the Cook County Hospital in Chicago.

But actually, it's found right here in the Northwoods.

That's because patients and doctors all got together because they wanted to see something they could bring into a Northwoods community here at the Howard Young Medical Center so patients could have quicker recovery times and more accurate procedures.

Gibbons says, "The people we've talked to have been incredibly amazed that they've been able to have this done here locally."

The robot can move past the limitations of the human hand with it's four robotic arms and high definition imagery.

Twelmeyer explains, "Instruments actually have more maneuverability than the human wrist does. So you can get in there and do very delicate dissections that you wouldn't otherwise be able to do with the regular laparoscopic equipment."

The da Vinci isn't able to perform every kind of operation, but the list is growing.

Gibbons says, "Currently, in addition to gynecology, we also offer urology services for operations of the prostate and kidney. As well as general surgery for colon surgery, gall bladder and things of that nature."

Twelmeyer says, even though the robot is reliable and can handle most procedures with ease, human hands are always on standby, "The whole O.R. crew is still in the room. The only difference is the surgeon isn't standing at the tableside. He or she is standing or sitting at the console."

Using the latest in medical technology and within a short drive for some of the most rural patients in the state.

The four surgeons who are trained to use the da Vinci Surgical Robot have already exceeded their operation goals in the first few months it's been up and running.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
In-person absentee voting underwaySubmitted: 10/23/2014

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STATEWIDE - You can vote in the upcoming election before November 4th. In-person absentee voting started Monday.

Northwoods clerks say the process has been going smoothly.

Voters don't need a photo ID for this election because the US Supreme Court blocked a law requiring one for this election. But some people have still been confused about whether they need a photo ID.

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Grant to help improve Vilas trails appSubmitted: 10/23/2014

VILAS COUNTY - Tourism leaders hope updates to a smartphone app will bring in an extra $350,000 to Vilas County.

The app will now offer GPS services to the county's non-motorized trail app.

Vilas County Tourism & Publicity will pay for it with a nearly $40,000 Joint Effort Marketing (JEM) grant from the state department of tourism.

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International group considers Wisconsin one of four most improved states in energy efficiency Submitted: 10/23/2014

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WISCONSIN - An international energy efficiency group ranked Wisconsin in the top four most improved states in the U.S. when it comes to energy efficiency.

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) is an international non-profit. The group pushes for better energy efficiency around the world.

They ranked Wisconsin 23rd in the U.S. last year, but Wisconsin made their most improved list for 2014.

"A shift in efficiency administrators had caused a temporary drop in saving," ACEEE State Policy Research Analyst Annie Gilleo said. "We are seeing that Wisconsin is once again realizing consistent levels of electricity and natural gas savings."

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Partial solar eclipseSubmitted: 10/23/2014

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NORTHWOODS - Most of Northern Wisconsin was too cloudy to make out the partial solar eclipse Thursday evening. A solar eclipse happens when the moon passes between the sun and the earth. The last partial solar eclipse that could be seen in Northern Wisconsin was more than 10 years ago. Calculations for when and where solar eclipses occur are quite precise, according to local astronomer and planetarium owner Frank Kovac.

"The solar system is like a clock," explained Kovac. "We can predict eclipses many years out and it is very geometric, it's very mathematical."

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Expera gets WEDC loan for headquarters improvementsSubmitted: 10/23/2014

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KAUKAUNA - Expera Specialty Solutions will use a $1 million loan to upgrade its headquarters in Kaukauna.

The company runs four mills in Wisconsin, including the ones in Rhinelander and Mosinee.

Expera will get the loan from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). That is the quasi-private state job creation agency.

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Social media app causes problems for Medford High School, app banned from school groundsSubmitted: 10/23/2014

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MEDFORD - A Northwoods high school evacuated earlier this month because of an anonymous message on the social media app called Yik Yak. Someone posted a bomb threat on the app for Medford High School.

That hasn't been the only issue with the app. Some students used the app to anonymously bully their peers.

"People, especially students but even adults too, are much, much braver behind a computer screen," says Medford High School Dean of Students Justin Hraby.

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Federal grant will help NTC open mobile lab, expand educational opportunitiesSubmitted: 10/23/2014

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WAUSAU - Northcentral Technical College will get a huge boost to one of its healthcare programs.

The geriatric healthcare program will get $668,328 from the U.S. Department of Labor. The grant will help create new advanced technical certificates. It will also go towards expanding educational programs.

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